National fertility rates fall
The national fertility rate has dropped from an average of 4.7 children per woman to 3.9, new data from the health Ministry shows.
The new statistics are contained in the Ministry of Health’s annual report for the 2018-19 Financial year.
The declining trend suggests that contributing factors to the decrease include smoking, poor nutrition, alcohol, physical inactivity and sexually transmitted diseases.
"The fertility rates for Samoa has dropped from 4.7 children per woman in 2011 to 3.9 per woman in 2016," the report said.
“Moreover this indicates the high level of education that the general population has accessed."
As education levels rise, people become more focused on their careers and less on building families, international research has suggested.
The report lists further contributing factors including: women’s growing representations at higher levels of employment and the increased availability and accessibility of family planning methods for birth control.
The report also examines the life expectancy of Samoans, based on analysis of national census data.
In 2011, the average Samoan woman had a life expectancy of 76 years, census figures showed. But by 2016 their life span had climbed three years to reach 79 years of age.
But men’s life expectancy dropped by one year over the same period and stands at 72 years.
In July, 2020 a new study published in the Lancet revealed that Samoa’s fertility rates may be the world’s highest by the end of the century.
Based on a future population model where global targets on access to education and contraception are met by 2030, Samoa’s fertility rate is predicted to be 2.51 births per female in 2100.
It will be one of just three countries with a fertility rate higher than two, the others being Israel with 2.05 and Zimbabwe with 2.03.
The study, by researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (I.H.M.E.), modelled the global population’s future based on fertility, mortality and migration.
They found that the world’s population will likely peak at 9.73 billion in 2064, and that by 2100 the average total fertility rate of the world’s population will be just 1.66 births per female.
The replacement rate for population is 2.1 (the number of children women need to have so that population levels remain steady). The world dropping below that rate will have major economic, social and political consequences, researchers predict.
Professor of Health Metrics and paper author Stein Emil Vollset from the I.H.M.E. and his colleagues calculated that Samoa’s population will rise to 1.06 million by 2100, or fall to 170,000 should the Sustainable Development Goals on education and contraceptives be met.
Samoa’s current population is estimated to be around 200,000, and its fertility rate is 4·69.
They predict men are expected to live until 77.9 while women are predicted to live until 80.6 by the end of the century.
The findings were shared in an article titled ‘Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study.’